12 Things About Real Estate Lead Conversion Your Competitors Don’t Want You to Know


Ever wonder how they do it? You know, the mega-agent in your office making, like, a bazillion dollars working Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow leads? If you ask her, she’ll tell you all about the blog and lead-capture website and all the video stuff she had custom-built by her outsourcing team in the Philippines – all of which sounds incredibly expensive and impossible to do for the average agent.

You may have even tried to replicate her success.

So you sign-up for paid advertising on Trulia and Zillow and start posting ads on Craigslist. You get a few leads here and there, but you don’t get much response from them, and ultimately you’re a few thousand dollars poorer and freakin’ perplexed at how the mega-agent is getting anything out of these crap leads.

Want me to let you in on a little secret?

You don’t need any of this stuff. You don’t need a fancy blog, custom website, or even a team of developers in the Philippines. Online lead conversion can be mastered with a few simple principles, and once you learn them, you’ll be making money with online real estate leads too.

Here are 11 things about online lead conversion that your competitors don’t want you to know:

1.) It’s a numbers game

Internet leads are a lot different that the referral your aunt Martha sent you last week. Most internet leads are bottom-feeders that have already signed-up for 6 offers from other real estate agents. Keep this in mind and don’t get discouraged when you’re not converting every one into a sale.

2.) He who responds first, wins

The first agent to respond with a phone call has the best chance to convert the lead to an appointment. This means that you need to be getting text alerts when the lead is generated, and you need to follow-up with a phone call within 2 minutes of getting the lead. If you wait 5 minutes, then the lead has already moved on to another site and has no idea who you are anymore.

3.) Understand what all buyer leads want

Buyers are interested in seeing a particular home. You got this lead because they saw a particular house and want to see it. Understand this when calling the lead and start off the conversation asking about the particular home before transitioning the conversation to qualifying the lead or setting an appointment.

4.) Get the appointment before the other guy

Being the first agent to call the lead is critically important, but being the first agent to get a face-to-face appointment means that you have a new client. Something like 80% of buyers work with the first agent they meet in person. Be that first agent by focusing your efforts on getting an appointment.

5.) Provide value

You won’t get the appointment if you’re not offering something the lead wants. So be helpful, and tell them how you’ll arrange to have a mortgage consultant stop by during the appointment in your office. Show the lead how you are going to make their life easier and provide value that other agents won’t.

6.) Ditch the fancy HTML

You know that fancy email template you spent an entire day tweaking? And the gorgeous email signature with your headshot that you spent another 2 hours on? Those are killing your online lead conversion by going straight to your lead’s spam folder. Use plain text emails and you’ll get your message opened and read. And speaking of email messages…

7.) Be concise and personal

No need for your long sales pitch about why you are the top-producing agent in your office. Your emails should be incredibly short (like, 2-3 sentences) where you offer something of value and ask for a response. Think along the lines of, “Sally, I heard about a great new listing coming on the market in Pacific Heights next week, and wanted to make sure you knew about it before it hits the market. I’ve got some time tomorrow afternoon to give you a private tour – what time works best for you.”

8.) Drip, drip, drip those that don’t respond right away

The majority of online real estate leads are early in the process and are not looking to buy immediately. This is where it pays to put the lead on a long-term email drip campaign or listing alert where you continue to deliver value over 6-12 months.

9.) Get a response, any response

Some (most) leads are not going to respond no matter what you do, but here’s an email that I use to get a few of these cold leads to warm-up: “Hi, I’ve been trying to reach you. Do I have your correct email address? Are you still looking to buy a home?”. Asking if you have the correct email address is irresistible for some reason – I’m continually amazed at the response rate to this email.

10.) Try contacting on Social Media

When all else fails, try looking the person up on Facebook or Twitter using the lead’s name and email. It’s possible that your email is getting sent straight to the lead’s spam folder. If you can get the lead to connect with you, then you have a clear path to communicate with them.

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You’ll be surprised how many leads will respond to a listing alert or email 9-months after signing up. Again, internet leads are a fickle bunch, and it may be that you caught them when they first started looking to buy. If you stay in front of the lead with quality content and value, you win some percentage of these leads down the road.

12.) Practice on cheap leads first

Trulia and Zillow offer higher quality leads than Craigslist, but you can go broke quickly trying to refine your conversion strategy using paid leads. Why not work out the kinks of your conversion strategy on free craigslist leads before moving on to the more expensive leads? If you have a website where users can sign-up to search the MLS, you have a reason to post on Craigslist everyday. You don’t even need a listing, the ad can be as simple as a text link to your site: “Search the complete Pacific Heights MLS like an agent today”.

It’s not magic, but it’s not obvious either. Converting online real estate leads can be frustrating and expensive until you figure a few (well, 11) things out. Master these 11 secrets and soon you’ll be the mega-agent that’s the envy of the office.

Written by Josh Hohman